Publication Detail

Green Charging of Electric Vehicles Under a Net-Zero Emissions Policy Transition in California


Research Report

Suggested Citation:
Jenn, Alan and Austin Brown (2021) Green Charging of Electric Vehicles Under a Net-Zero Emissions Policy Transition in California. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-21-41

California has many aggressive climate policies, primarily aimed at individual sectors. This study explores untapped policy opportunities for interactions between sectors, specifically between the transportation and the electricity grid. As electric vehicles become more prevalent, their impact on the electricity grid is directly related to the aggregate patterns of vehicle charging. Even without vehicle-to-grid services, shifting of charging patterns can be a potentially important resource to alleviate issues such as renewable intermittency. This study compares, through modeling, projected emissions reductions from managed vs. unmanaged charging. The lion’s share of emissions reduction in the light-duty transportation sector in California will come from electrification, with a cumulative 1 billion tons of CO2 reduction through 2045. Decarbonization of the current grid leads to an additional savings of 125 million tons of CO2 over the same time-period. Potential state policies to exploit synergies between transportation electrification and grid decarbonization could reduce cumulative emissions by another 10 million tons of CO2. These policies include strategic deployment of charging infrastructure, pricing mechanisms, standardizing grid interaction protocols, and supporting grid infrastructure requirements.

Key words: Decarbonization, electric grids, electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging, emissions, carbon dioxide, policy analysis